The Two Ten Footwear Foundation has found a smart new way to give back.
The Waltham, Mass.-based charitable organization has launched Share Your Shoes, a program that will convert donated footwear inventory into critically needed emergency funds for industry employees in crisis. The idea for the program was created by Two Ten’s board of directors with the help of a task force led by Tracey McLeod, founder and CEO of TIEM Athletic Footwear. The program is a win-win, allowing companies to put their surplus, obsolete, returned, gently worn and otherwise unwanted stock to good use.
“Continuing consolidation, retail store closings and other industry changes have created a confluence of challenges for employees and companies alike. Now we have a solution for both,” said Neal Newman, Two Ten’s president. “Share Your Shoes is a highly effective way to help our industry employees while resolving the issue of obsolete inventories that are a drag on operations, all with the confidence that donated footwear will be efficiently removed from the market.”
According to Two Ten, the debut of Share Your Shoes comes at a time when the need is greater than ever. Over the past three years, the nonprofit fielded a 65 percent increase in emergency calls, driven in part by a string of catastrophic hurricanes, wildfires and other weather-related crises. More than $2.4 million in emergency assistance — every dollar of which was collected through the generosity of the footwear industry community — was disseminated last year.
“To meet the escalating need of our colleagues, we now have an easy and 100 percent transparent model to generate additional revenue that will go directly to the Two Ten emergency Common Good Fund to prevent evictions, help footwear families recover from a natural disaster, address a recent job loss or any number of life-crisis situations,” said David Kahan, CEO of Birkenstock Americas and chairman of Two Ten’s Development Committee.
Two exclusive partners, The Jay Group and Rerun Shoes, have been tapped by Two Ten to handle all related logistics for reselling and sending the product overseas, in strict adherence to the donor’s destination preference or other restrictions. “The Jay Group and Rerun Shoes are well-known, well-respected, market-savvy and fully committed to helping us generate additional funding for our footwear employees who need a lifeline,” Newman said. “We are thrilled to partner with [them.]”